What happens when former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg puts two of McLaren’s best on a track for some head-to-head fun? This video from the Dubai Autodrome tells the tale.
Rosberg has spent time with both cars before, but this is his first opportunity to get the McLaren Senna on a race track, which has him pumped. He raves about its 1,700 pounds of downforce and how much of a difference that can make in high-speed cornering. So will its svelte, 2,641-pound curb weight.
“This thing is going to be fun today because the last time I drove this with you it was at a driving school in the South of France,” Rosberg says of the Senna. “But today, we have a proper race track, like kind-of F1 track, with the high speed corners and everything. It’s going to be epic.”
2019 McLaren Senna, Portugal Media Drive, June 2018
2018 McLaren 720S
Both are serious machines. On paper, the 720S has the disadvantage in power, with 710 ponies on tap to go with its 568 pound-feet of torque. It can hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and 124 mph in 7.8 seconds. Its curb weight checks in at a mere 2,800 pounds.
The Senna, on the other hand, is a bit more technical—a real track weapon. It packs 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque from its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, with 0-62 coming in 2.8 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in just 6.8. It will also crack off a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds on the way to a 211-mph top speed.
And straight-line performance matters in this case, as Rosberg’s first stop is a makeshift drag strip. The cars trade wins thanks to not-so-professional launches and cold tires, but clearly Rosberg and his competition are enjoying themselves.
On the circuit, Rosberg praises the Senna’s downforce, saying it behaves more like a race car than a road car. Jumping into the 720S is a step backwards, Rosberg says, thanks to its street tires and comparatively limited downforce. But honestly, you can’t really go wrong with either car.